12 arrested in suspected drug, human trafficking ring - Tucson News Now

12 arrested in suspected drug, human trafficking ring

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Authorities arrested a dozen suspects in a bust involving what the Tohono O'odham Police Department labeled as a major drug and human trafficking ring.

They said that ring is suspected of smuggling more than 1,300 pounds of marijuana and 120 undocumented migrants per month through the Tohono O'odham Nation to Tucson, according to a news release.

During a two-month investigation, authorities found financial information that revealed the primary defendant, Pauline Grijalva, laundered approximately $350,000 in illicit proceeds through financial institutions over three years, officials said.

The task force obtained a search warrant for an undisclosed location and seized 76 kilograms of marijuana, eight vehicles, two ATVs and $17,000 in cash.

Authorities arrested Grijalva, who is a U.S. citizen, and made probable cause to arrest nine members of her suspected smuggling organization. 

Two more suspects were arrested on Jan. 22 in their attempt to bring a group of undocumented migrants around a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Three Points, Ariz., the release stated.

The indictment has 17 separate charges, including conducting a criminal enterprise, conspiracy to transport marijuana and to commit human smuggling, participating in a human smuggling organization, assisting a human smuggling organization, transporting marijuana for sale, human smuggling, money laundering in the first degree and use of wire communications in organized crime and drug offenses.

Indictments for four more suspects were filed in Pima County Superior Court.

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